Ep. 24: Elizabeth Sarquis and Alejandro Fenn on Why Leaders MUST Show Up

In this episode, David sits down with Elizabeth Sarquis, Founder and CEO of Global Gaming Initiative and Jukko, and Alejandro Fenn, Co-Founder of Global Gaming Initiative and Jukko, to discuss why leaders MUST show up every single time.

Buy David’s NEW book Trusted Leader: https://www.trustedleaderbook.com/

Sponsored by Sourcewell

Elizabeth’s Bio:
Elizabeth is Founder and CEO of Global Gaming Initiative and Jukko. She is a pioneer in the mobile games, advertising and ecommerce spaces, dedicated to using these mediums to create social impact. A founding member of the BCorp Women CEO leadership group, she loves all things family, design and music, is a proud Colombiana and is passionate about working with fellow creatives using their skills to create the revolution the world needs.

Alejandro’s Bio:
Alejandro is Co-Founder of Global Gaming Initiative, a mobile game developer and publisher dedicated to using the power of games for social good. He is also Co-Founder of Jukko, a purpose-driven advertising network and works extensively with purpose-driven entrepreneurs and businesses on all things marketing and strategy. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast and as a true Minnesotan believes there is no bad weather, only bad preparation.

Elizabeth’s Links:
Website: https://elizabethsarquis.com/
Global Gaming Initiative: https://www.globalgaminginitiative.com/
Jukko: https://jukko.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-sarquis-011bb95/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellesarquis/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth_sarquis/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcpOXw-ioIiV0nCrCdh1Qbg

Alejandro’s Links:
Global Gaming Initiative: https://www.globalgaminginitiative.com/
Jukko: https://jukko.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alejandrofenn/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alejandrofenn/

Key Quotes:
1. “I’m a mother first.”
2. “I’m a firm believer in skin in the game.”
3. “Its not about reproducing the same things. Its about where we go next.”
4. “This is never a failure, and there’s always more opportunities around the corner.”
5. “You gotta ask for help.”
6. “You really treasure your friends. You really treasure your family.”
7. “You’ve really got to take care of the people that take care of you.”
8. “You have to have faith that everything is going to turn out.”
9. “We as leaders, or as humans, we’re curious, and we need to learn all the time because that’s how we grow.”
10. “You gotta show up.”
11. “You can’t be a distant leader.”
12. “Keep the inertia going.”
13. “Don’t let anyone take away your joy.”

Links Mentioned In The Episode:
Oura Ring: https://ouraring.com/
Slack: https://slack.com/
Asana: https://asana.com/
Seasonal Sunlight Lamp: https://amzn.to/2R67w0r
“Skin In The Game” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: https://amzn.to/3wxgHrf
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz: https://amzn.to/3t0HBWe
Global Gaming Initiative: https://www.globalgaminginitiative.com/
Jukko: https://jukko.com/

Buy David’s NEW book Trusted Leader: https://www.trustedleaderbook.com/

David’s Links:
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/36AXtp9
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Show Transcript

David Horsager: Welcome to the trusted leader show it’s David Horsager and we are in for a treat today.

David Horsager: My dear friend Elizabeth Sarquis is on the show today her brilliant and amazing partner in work happens to be her son out of Williams college he’s the technical genius he cares about economics and about the future of the world and it’s a treat to have both of you on today.

Alejandro Fenn: Thank you, David.


David Horsager: Thank you, and you know what first time for this show we’ve had two people on at once, so it’s a it’s it’s a treat but I got to tell you about Elizabeth because she.

David Horsager: When I met her we were part of a mastermind group together, but she lights up a room more than that she is she started.

David Horsager: The global gaming initiative and juku we’re going to talk about those I thought, a few other things that are interesting global gaming initiative has repeatedly made the B corp best for the world list, she has the Ellis Island medal of honor the highest award ever.

David Horsager: You know, given for first generation immigrants a whole lot of other things she cares about.

David Horsager: Really social good and she cares about health and life and she is a trusted leader and as a team wow so Alejandro and Elizabeth Thank you so much for being on the show let’s get to it, each of you take a minute or two tell us what do we need to know about you.

Alejandro Fenn: I will defer to Elizabeth.

Alejandro Fenn: When I started my career, I really had a singular focus and that was always looking at how I could make the world better specifically for kids.

Alejandro Fenn: So what you need to know about me is i’m a mother first my faith is critically important to me, and so is my family and everything that I do has that very singular focus is like what’s the perspective of how we’re going to impact children.

David Horsager: amazing yeah it’s an end yet you’ve done all these things you’ve done that’s been the focus you’ve been a judge on the elevator pitch show from entrepreneur.com you I mean.

David Horsager: You do all these things, helping people understand how do you build a business, how do you how do you make change through.

David Horsager: Business and through your nonprofit initiatives let’s jump on over to you Alejandro and how do you work together, but who are you and how do you work together in this work.

Alejandro Fenn: Well, in terms of how I got into like my career of path and all the things that are going on, it actually started in a car, I was driving to.

Alejandro Fenn: The Albany train station, I was in college at the time, and it was snowing it was cold, it was dark as a one way each way kind of highway and I hit a deer.

Alejandro Fenn: totaled my car I was totally fine.

Alejandro Fenn: Thanks to the powers above, but what I was on my way to go, interview for was like a banking job.

Alejandro Fenn: So I was there for like getting like a summer internship type of interview, and that moment, it was like a sign.

Alejandro Fenn: That like hey I, this is probably not the path for me the path for me is more in alignment with with what I can do, and my skills of.

Alejandro Fenn: bringing people together being really, really able to organize teams create efficiencies.

Alejandro Fenn: All of course trying to do as much as we can, so we leave this place, better than we found it, and so you know for all things technology that we do.

Alejandro Fenn: And branding and marketing and really just like helping entrepreneurs, take a good idea and really first assess the idea assess the market all that important preliminary work and then executing on it and helping these awesome companies and people behind them flourish.

David Horsager: you’re doing amazing work i’ve seen so you got to be proud as a friend and mom Elizabeth but was this before after being a principal scientist with the lithium battery.


David Horsager: let’s go on here, we got this.

David Horsager: William college Grad and economics with you know all that brilliance and you got this technological branch, and you were on a you know lithium battery research group I mean this is that this is a quite a quite a ride we’re on here today and I knew it would be.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah I mean the funny thing about that was it happened to be the hottest summer ever in Minnesota for about a week and a half and so literally the entire office.

Alejandro Fenn: was like 100 degrees, because it was like hundred 15 degree real field temperature because they had to keep the dry rooms cold, so we were just sweating buckets.

David Horsager: Oh man, well, I can tell you we’re on something i’m from the twin city, you know where the in the twin cities area today that’s the studio place and we are on track for the.

David Horsager: One of only three times in history in the last hundred and 47 years that we won’t break zero degrees below zero weather in Minnesota which is interesting.

David Horsager: Although last weekend that was up in Luton with my son, and the first day we went got on the slopes, it was nine below up there, so anyway.


David Horsager: Interesting track record let’s let’s jump into this let’s talk we’re going to talk about leadership we’re going to talk about life, but I want to know a little bit.

David Horsager: Elizabeth let’s start with you on global gaming initiative, because everything you’ve done has been about social impact and changing the world for good.

David Horsager: But you know this global gaming and a shift we all watch the social dilemma we we’ve got parents and friends saying well you know gaming is bad and you can’t make good out of technology and in some ways for kids and yet you’ve taken a different approach.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah so global gaming initiative has really organically grown into being something very different from its birth.

Alejandro Fenn: When you know our first product that we ever released was strictly about getting bicycles, in the hands of kids so they could get to school.

Alejandro Fenn: So we’ve gone from that to being the leaders in the in the Games for good space and what I mean when I say that as people reach out to us and ask us hey.

Alejandro Fenn: I want to do something good, I want to make this you know product whether it’s a game or an APP or an or even you know it could be apparel all sorts of things that how do I do that.

Alejandro Fenn: And it’s really it’s really it’s really fun because because you know I don’t want them to waste time I want you know I want to transfer my knowledge as best I can.

Alejandro Fenn: Because when I started I didn’t have a playbook I had no playbook I was one of the few women in the industry, and it was like literally the wild Wild West and so fast yes.

David Horsager: No just tell us tell us about a product today how are, how are you helping someone go from idea to to something that’s helping change the world for good in some way through the global gaming initiative.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah Okay, so I can’t really disclose the specifics, because it’s you know still you know, intellectual property and I can’t share the details of the project, but we’re working with a school librarian who’s a CEO who’s also developing a digital citizenship game.

Alejandro Fenn: How cool is that for grades two through six they have some amazing art already so when when she first reached out to me.

Alejandro Fenn: She was like hey do you think you can help me because I don’t know how to do the development side of this, I have this whole idea, so we start with conversations and I assess like what is your goal.

Alejandro Fenn: To really align to see if we have the same alignment, because one of the worst things you can do in this space is have someone think that you can just transfer whatever they have.

Alejandro Fenn: That you know in their mind or on printed to digital and the mechanics or even for them to think that they know how the mechanics are going to work.

Alejandro Fenn: Because they’re not experts in that area they know they can tell me their dream, they can tell us their goals, but then it’s up to the developers and designers on our teams to really look at it and say hey.

Alejandro Fenn: So i’m super pumped about that project because.

Alejandro Fenn: it’s about kids it’s about doing well you know when you go down this road there’s a consequence, when you take this road there’s a different consequence so it’s it’s about doing good actions.

Alejandro Fenn: And I love that, and so the concern that parents have about video games or any not even video games social media it’s real and it’s so critically, vital that we address and provide alternatives right.

Alejandro Fenn: Absolutely so that’s one of the projects that i’m really excited about because it’s like totally what I believe in.

David Horsager: Well you’re a purpose driven do Oh, you know tell us about the Alejandro tell us a part of it that you’re loving right now, a part of this work that you’re loving and passionate about right now.

Alejandro Fenn: Well, for me, it’s from a from a bird’s eye view it’s I did to wake up, if I went to sleep, which I tried to.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, try to go to bed early now, but the point is like everything that i’m doing everyone that i’m working with are a people that I believe in through you know many conversations I never jumped into.

Alejandro Fenn: Working with a company or an entrepreneur until like i’ve really gotten to know them.

Alejandro Fenn: So I believe in them on a personal level, I believe in their business and business opportunity, and you know, to a degree, they have to of course believe in it themselves, of course, they need cheerleaders and champions.

Alejandro Fenn: And I am a firm believer in skin in the game helping the businesses when they’re small helping them as much as you can give value.

Alejandro Fenn: Without like the standard kind of consulting or like some other term you would associate with like, how you get compensated and really just helping them.

Alejandro Fenn: achieve massive success, because you know that’s what it’s all about, so I just am so blessed that like when I wake up, I always know i’m gonna do what I love helping people using my skills figuring stuff out as needed, and you know I can rest easy at night.

David Horsager: How do you guys, you know, this makes me think of you know, the pandemic so many people had to pivot you were already in technology.

David Horsager: But how do you I mean.

David Horsager: Especially i’ve known Elizabeth a lot longer you’ve pivoted you’ve changed you’ve tweaked you’re always getting better you’re getting better at this you’re shifting this you’re changing that for the better, so that you can have.

David Horsager: A more better greater impact, but what are you doing right now to innovate, or how have you been kind of created that mindset or culture of innovation in this, you know kind of innovative space of technology, or you know how do you keep doing that.

Alejandro Fenn: wow that’s a loaded question yeah so it’s not about reproducing the same things it’s about where we go next So if I were to tell you one of the one of the businesses that we’re working on right now, it has nothing to do with games and it doesn’t have anything to do with mobile advertising.

Alejandro Fenn: it’s a product based business that has everything to do with you know P P products.

Alejandro Fenn: has huge social impact.

Alejandro Fenn: But yeah I mean in terms of how we pivoted and we’ve had to pivot a lot, especially with our ad tech business.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, obviously we knew that going in as we built our own like set of technology to support.

Alejandro Fenn: That kind of business but that’s it’s a tough it’s a tough industries just considering the market power and monopolization and so yeah we had to.

Alejandro Fenn: We had some low moments, we had to pivot a little bit, and you know it’s almost like you got to internalize as a entrepreneur as a business person as a person.

Alejandro Fenn: Like hey this is never a failure and there’s always more opportunities around the corner, but you have to tell yourself that like this is a learning and.

Alejandro Fenn: You have to be grateful for all the things you learn through that process that that you can then take in in a multitude of different directions, because.

David Horsager: let’s.

David Horsager: let’s jump in here what’s.

David Horsager: going to keep things going and you’re this is this is fascinating what’s one thing Alejandro what’s one thing you learned in the midst of the crisis what’s one thing you took away that you’re gonna like this is something i’m going to do differently now because of something you learned.

Alejandro Fenn: I think the main thing for me is you got to ask for help and you got to do it aggressively but like with love, of course, and with gratitude and that comes across but.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, asking for help the people that support you and that believe in you they’ll be there for you.

Alejandro Fenn: And, just like not being shy about it, you know I think in earlier days of like me starting these businesses with my mom there were times, where I was kind of shy to like really go out and ask the questions to get the information to get the guidance and now it’s like hey not even close.

Alejandro Fenn: No.

David Horsager: I was gonna say I remember last time we were, I think, but all together, all three I think I was speaking at the world or the excuse me, the rocky mountain Economic Forum, and I know one thing you did it just to give.

David Horsager: You know a lot of times i’m talking to leaders and they say they care about social impact and care about others and blah blah blah blah, I mean.

David Horsager: Elizabeth cares really cares one of our dear friends had a brother that was in the hospital.

David Horsager: hours and hours away and she left everything at the Forum jumped in the car with them.

David Horsager: And road hours to go see this friend that had an accident, I mean I just I see it, firsthand when I see you guys, not just in this mission away, not this.

David Horsager: mission, but people are living out you’re going to have a B corp you’re going to have more scrutiny and business side, but also on the personal side, and you know.

David Horsager: This this let’s jump to this Elizabeth what’s something you’ve learned in this kind of last year of crisis that you’re taking forward.

Alejandro Fenn: You really treasure your your friends, you really treasure your family.

Alejandro Fenn: there’s really.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, one of the things I heard in the very beginning of the pandemic is is that the most important thing right now is to stay alive.

Alejandro Fenn: You can’t do anything if you’re not you know alive and it’s not just a physical thing because there’s a lot of mental health things that happened during this period of time and and and I had to struggle, a great deal with you know, bringing my mother from Colombia.

Alejandro Fenn: Due to the pandemic and and it was very difficult, there was a lot of stress to become her primary caregiver it taught me a lot, because my mother has so many health issues.

Alejandro Fenn: Everything from dementia to orthopedic issues, and so you know, working with the government, the US embassy to get her out was really hard all of these things and just you wouldn’t believe what we had to do.

Alejandro Fenn: To get her into the country, and then I have friends that you know, asking me do I need a plane to go in there and i’m like you can’t the country shut down their airways so So for me what I learned is number one you’ve really got to take care of the people that take care of you.

Alejandro Fenn: And number two, you have to have faith that everything is going to turn out.

David Horsager: I love that you know that that.

David Horsager: That faith piece that goes back to what many of you know, the Stockdale paradox of of.

David Horsager: You know Admiral Stockdale the highest ranking individual in the Vietnam War and he’s he’s asked what is it about the people that died here it’s like they were the optimists.

David Horsager: What is it about what about you know what is it about the people that made it.

David Horsager: Well, they had two things, and it was a balance of two things, and it was number one they’re willing to confront the brutal truth there’s really.

David Horsager: Bad stuff happening, you and I saw people that said oh pandemics nothing Oh, this is nothing they’re willing to confront the brutal truth but they had a paradox with.

David Horsager: Long term faith in the good to come, ultimately, it wasn’t short term optimism of we’re going to be out in two months, and then they didn’t make it out, it was a long term faith balanced with a willingness to look at the.

David Horsager: Look at the brutal facts of the day, and I think that’s some of what we’re talking about in mix that in with.

David Horsager: Your care of the people close to you and I think, by the way, that’s something I saw great leaders do in this time we saw bad leadership and I walked with some leaders CEOs and leaders that didn’t do things very well and lost a whole lot of trust.

David Horsager: And we walked with some that actually gain trust while they laid off 2000 people because of their empathy and care for their people in the midst of the crisis over last year, so, so I love that you know it, when we talk about trusted leadership and all the work we’re doing, we know.

David Horsager: there’s people that are healthy at home or in life are healthier as leaders in many ways.

David Horsager: Well, I know, both of you care about physical spiritual and life, help and that health and that has helped you be helped the leaders of many and I want to get back into how you’ve led some of your teams, especially Elizabeth.

David Horsager: right on that, but first of all let’s go to what routines do you have personally that help you be healthy, so that you can lead well.

Alejandro Fenn: Okay, would you like to go first i’ll start off with very routine oriented off with some fun ones first off.

Alejandro Fenn: And it’s it sounds kind of lame but, having a water bottle that you’ll actually drink.

Alejandro Fenn: The appropriate amount for the day, which I think for men is 11 to 15 cups obviously the body weight slightly variant for women like eight to 11 again body weight and.

Alejandro Fenn: But like I got a one of those water bottles that like that you see on TV for the nfl players have a sideline like those squeezy gatorade ones I actually drink the water so that’s a huge like I feel so much more energetic I feel like my cells are nourished huge little thing.

David Horsager: And that’s not a little thing that’s a huge thing we’re.

David Horsager: Mostly made out of water and I lost 22 pounds and we talked about seeds here as CDs and the D stands for drink water drink water love it do you have another thing something else that 100.

Alejandro Fenn: I mean, I could go on for days and next one, is, I really like this, because you know it’s like you don’t always have time to cook.

Alejandro Fenn: And sure it’s really important to learn how to make amazing food that takes like 15 minutes to prepare very important skill underrated.

Alejandro Fenn: But, alas, having a really good blender and we’ve been doing, like, for the last six months, like you put in a bunch of frozen fruit.

Alejandro Fenn: You put in a bunch of Greens like spinach kale whatever you got I mean go hard go broccoli your seeds your chia seeds flax seeds water some like cinnamon I mean you can dates, if you want to sweeten it up.

Alejandro Fenn: Huge nice thing because, like you can just always just drink that and have that be food when the day is crazy and when you’re running around sometimes like a chicken with your head cut off, which is what happens.

David Horsager: I love it alright Elizabeth let’s hear a few of yours.

Alejandro Fenn: Okay So for me as soon as my feet touch the ground in the morning I just am so grateful I start my day when I can get that mindset of gratitude and prayer for me it’s a very important way to start my day.

Alejandro Fenn: I can move through the day much, much calmer I you know I feel like I have less stress when I do that and then.

Alejandro Fenn: In the evening when you know I always try to do a relaxing kind of routine and, for me it involves multiple things like you know.

Alejandro Fenn: Playing some video games okay you guys know I like video games, so I have certain ones that exhaust my brain like go ones that are puzzles and word scapes and stuff like that and games.

Alejandro Fenn: That tax me a little bit, and then I do like you know some type of relaxing routine whether it’s baths candles whatever but.

Alejandro Fenn: that’s always the key and, for me, the other key that’s really been important and zero is kind of I mean I don’t know if you guys do it, but it’s the do not disturb on my phone.

Alejandro Fenn: So I used to take advantage of that and and and then you would hear and you would see like I have a ridiculous number of emails and I don’t i’m not proud of it, I need to get them, you know eliminated for my.

Alejandro Fenn: mind, but if you didn’t have that on you would hear the beep beep beep the whole night yeah.

Alejandro Fenn: Not not only that, but calls and obviously whatsapp and.

Alejandro Fenn: wechat and all the other people they reach out from different technology platforms for me.

David Horsager: And for you from other parts of the world that who knows.

Alejandro Fenn: What.

Alejandro Fenn: The night right, and they have different time zones, so that, and then I would say, the last thing that’s been very important for me is I got this aura ring aura.

David Horsager: Oh yeah.

Alejandro Fenn: And for sleep, you know, for those of us who have the creative brain that doesn’t cut off having this kind of routine is really important, because it reminds me it says hey it’s almost your ideal bedtime.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah.

David Horsager: I mean I tell about the ring really quick, because my my cousin who runs a company just got it and he thought I had one on when I have.


David Horsager: yeah, this is a rubber ring because I smashed my gold one, and then I, and then I had a something it was playing basketball with my son and actually.

David Horsager: He jam, or maybe I did, but the basketball jam my finger and actually, that was a half a year ago and it never did and swell all the way, so I couldn’t get the ring on i’m like.

David Horsager: i’m just get my my assistant has a her husband and they got this for their wedding and i’m like this is silicon it’s 30 bucks.

Alejandro Fenn: I know I know that company, I know the company.

David Horsager: Has love it because it.

David Horsager: Just it’s so comfortable I don’t want to go back to my gold one now.

David Horsager: it’s just it’s in a jar and I can never use it again.

David Horsager: I told my wife, she knows I love her, and you know it’s just this is so comfortable, but he was talking about this ring, so you know we’re not we’re not sponsored by them or anything but just tell us what’s what’s an hour regretted ordering do.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah so I was introduced to them a few years ago and slush in a big tech Conference in Helsinki and basically what it does.

Alejandro Fenn: And you know I looked at it over time and I didn’t wasn’t ready to purchase it back then, because I didn’t know what it did, but during the pandemic or little bit before the pandemic started, I was like.

Alejandro Fenn: Oh, we should get these rings so basically it’s connected to an APP and basically monitors everything about your sleep.

Alejandro Fenn: It monitors your activity and monitors your your deep rem sleep it tells you what time you’re awake and it’s also has cooled reminders about you know this is your ideal time to go to sleep.

Alejandro Fenn: And so it pings you and says hey you should be you know preparing for your sleep.

Alejandro Fenn: And now they’ve even updated some sleep stories so think like calm or something like that which i’m not a fan of for me personally it doesn’t help me.

Alejandro Fenn: But this story is there, like history history of the moon, or something I was like Okay, I can listen to that and go to sleep now on I want because.

Alejandro Fenn: You know i’m a constant learner I think that’s what leaders do we, we as leaders or as humans, we were curious, and we need to learn all the time because that’s how we grow.

David Horsager: I love it so tell me this Elizabeth you know we’re both actually before I jumped from this, I know you’re also physically fit, so I want to.

David Horsager: I want to just ask that question, what are you doing you know, in the midst of our busy schedules off and it’s like when, am I going to get that done i’m up in the morning boom and especially for you to you might.

David Horsager: have had something come in from Kenya and then you got an email it’s got to go to Singapore and then you got people are awake at this time.

David Horsager: Right, so I mean we could be on all the time, I do have something where I wake up, sometimes about four in the morning, thinking about something and I tried it, I have my journal right next to my.

David Horsager: bed, so I can just get that off my head right away, and have it there in the morning I don’t jump to technology in the middle night but sometimes you know.

David Horsager: our minds are going, and I know the one thing for me is if i’m exercising it makes all the difference with sleep and how I eat everything else.

David Horsager: But I know you do some things regularly what tell it tell about your physical fitness and how do you I guess one kind of what do you do and to how do you fit it in.

David Horsager: How do you make sure you do it.

Alejandro Fenn: it’s not a choice because if you I, like you find that if I don’t do something every day I can’t sleep So for me whether it’s a walk around the lake or when i’m in utah obviously hiking skiing and all the cool sports that we love to do.

Alejandro Fenn: we’ve just taken up snowshoeing so Minnesota doesn’t have very good mountains for skiing so it was a little bit challenging in that way, so we have snowshoes now and your last weekend, we did like a 10 mile equivalent to a 10 mile snowshoe.

Alejandro Fenn: tracks one yeah and it’s going, and I call it expeditions so I make it fun, so what I say is like we’re going to go on an expedition and and you’re going to go outdoors or sometimes you go to some you know.

Alejandro Fenn: State parks there’s a lot of beautiful state parks in Minnesota that I didn’t even know about prior to now love it and and I grew up here.

David Horsager: We say this all the time you’ve got to find in Minnesota just like you can say there’s really no bad weather just bad clothing.

David Horsager: You have the right clothing on you know but it’s the same with if you don’t find something in Minnesota to get you outside in the winter to let you know, to get your physical.

David Horsager: that’s the people have problems, but so so people know you guys have a place out silicon slopes out in utah we love I love fly fishing and skiing they’re my two favorite things to do so, you know I love being out in utah and then you’re also in Minnesota you’re in Minnesota today.

David Horsager: And I.

David Horsager: And Columbia.

Alejandro Fenn: Columbia sure.

David Horsager: Exactly sorry.

Alejandro Fenn: I wish I was right now.


David Horsager: Right so walking hiking snowshoeing you got to find something you’ll do Alejandro.

David Horsager: What do you what you know your body at your age can just can handle a little less discipline and yet you’re a discipline guy which is going to be good for when you put a few more years on, that sleek SLIM a healthy gentleman’s body they have, but what What do you do fit wise.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah the.

Alejandro Fenn: The, the main thing that i’ve been doing and actually started right when the pandemic hit just as a.

Alejandro Fenn: Something to do for a bunch of my older family members is I do like a functional strength zoom class, so we have like combination functional strength.

Alejandro Fenn: And then things like Chi gong more breathing centric exercises and, like, I have not lifted any weights really in nine months and i’m still like equally as strong.

Alejandro Fenn: Just from doing that it’s just like you know, working on the basics doing squats for doing foot reflections and flexibility stuff working your back.

Alejandro Fenn: neck obviously super important to like just doing basically PT exercises and still do it every day with like a bunch of different friends and family members of all ages and just as a way for all of us to to stay on top of things yeah.

David Horsager: Community you got physical right there, but when do you do it first thing in the morning midday.

Alejandro Fenn: How do you get.

David Horsager: scheduled, so you don’t get it.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah I prefer middle of the day, for me it kind of like before lunch just because, like you, don’t run it really want to.

Alejandro Fenn: eat and then do some form of exercise so like a 131 o’clock is like my preference, but obviously each of us has their own like body clock and you just got to figure out what works and make it happen and block the calendar.

David Horsager: And that’s what when do you block the calendar for that.

Alejandro Fenn: it’s just 130 to two every day okay.

David Horsager: yeah that’s just that it just hey everybody it’s just 130 to do come on now.

David Horsager: For those of us that still are working in offices, I mean I my next office space i’m going to have a workout gym right there where the shower because I would like it better middle of the day, too, but it’s not so you know when we’re at home or summits, you know it’s one thing so.

David Horsager: All right, i’m going to shoot to the producer Kent, what do you, what do you got for these guys.

David Horsager: hey guys, so I was wondering obviously you guys both work together closely on a lot of projects and stuff and I was thinking, how do you kind of kind of bridge that.

David Horsager: professional and personal.

David Horsager: relationship and being able to actually balance that well because I feel like there’s a lot of people that like.

David Horsager: Maybe it’s like a mom and pop shop, maybe they’re hiring their you know, one of their kids or like a family business, and I feel like I know people that like that’s really.

David Horsager: term like full of turmoil and a lot of stress and problems or how do you kind of balance that so that you can still have a you know be productive professionally but still obviously still have a good, solid relationship personally.

Alejandro Fenn: Do you want to answer that sure i’ll start it off, I mean we don’t really have a dividing line or any like serious breaks like that in terms of separating the two buckets.

Alejandro Fenn: really what we have, and you know i’m grateful for it every day is the highest level of internal trust between the two of us trust and respect.

Alejandro Fenn: You know we’ve all got stuff going on we’ve all got our own sets of problems and anxieties and things we’re obviously really good at or not so good at, and all that stuff and.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, for us it’s a just emanates from that supreme level of trust, respect and understanding and so with that we don’t really ever have to like separate the two will laugh about everything, like the work stuff together when you know, things are hitting the fan and.

Alejandro Fenn: You know that’s that’s really what I see what I see an experience.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah I think for me it’s.

Alejandro Fenn: Very first of all, I was very unexpected that that Alejandro and I would ever work together.

Alejandro Fenn: So you know, in the beginning i’m sure it seemed more of a.

Alejandro Fenn: Like a hierarchical structure that’s gone.

Alejandro Fenn: he’s like completely my peers.

Alejandro Fenn: So, so there isn’t any of that kind of.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, conflict and also, I think it just we flow.

Alejandro Fenn: And I don’t know why we flow, I think you know the underlying reasons, must be obviously the preparation, education, the experiences that we’ve had when we started working together, and I just think that.

Alejandro Fenn: On a personal side, he has his personal life I have my personal life, sometimes we do things together, like some like you know the snow shoeing or expeditions as I call them, sometimes I do them with other people, or he does things with the other people.

Alejandro Fenn: So, and I think the most important reason why it works as well, is that we’re both very um.

Alejandro Fenn: we’re we’re both very introverted in the sense that we need time to re energize because we’re so involved in in our work that it’s really cool because we just respect each other’s privacy there’s no there’s no there’s no boundary violation which happens oftentimes right.

David Horsager: And you got and i’m assuming you divide responsibilities are clearly divided yeah because he does some things immensely well you’ve got other parts you do months ago, we talked about this a lot we you know the research says code leadership is terrible.

David Horsager: And I know your co CEOs but co leadership is terrible collaborative leadership is excellent people that try to code, they have to have different responsibilities, otherwise.

David Horsager: And that, which makes collaborative leadership, but if you have two people that are on the same thing all the time that doesn’t work, so the divisions are critical.

Alejandro Fenn: Absolutely, I would not want to do three quarters of the things that he’s brilliant.

David Horsager: I want, I want to ask you a question, because you’re kind of you’re working with.

David Horsager: I mean i’ve seen how warm you are in person, and yet i’ve seen the you know your strength as a leader and it’s this beautiful mix of you’re strong.

David Horsager: And you’re wise and you’re also warm and how do you lead this team internationally, a lot of our listeners are like they’ve got remote leaders you’ve got to do with.

David Horsager: That that that those they’re in charge of digital marketing you kind of have of spread out team, especially we talk about your other company that you’re that you have zuko and how do you actually manage this team all over the place, virtually, how do you lead them.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah I mean you got to show up you can’t be a distant leader you.

Alejandro Fenn: And I think that one of the things that i’ve learned is over the course of time, and specifically working with remote teams from the first time I started building a mobile game with a team in Berlin.

Alejandro Fenn: You have to show up meaning, you have to be involved in the in the product and the project, the whole way through, you have to be on the ground.

Alejandro Fenn: And you know, right now, obviously it’s all virtual but that works out perfectly anyways specifically when you have teams at different parts of the world, but you have to show up.

Alejandro Fenn: You have to be you can’t be so above the meeting times and pulling the projects forward that you are absent, so I think that’s where it’s at and that and I think the passion and the and the championing.

Alejandro Fenn: And just things that for me are innate I would say, their innate in my leadership style.

Alejandro Fenn: And maybe often maybe sometimes and too forgiving.

Alejandro Fenn: But I think the most important thing i’ve learned as a leader as well, is to trust my gut right away.

Alejandro Fenn: because sometimes you can get teams when you’re not working with them in person and you can’t see what’s happening.

Alejandro Fenn: You can allow too much time to pass and some deadlines to not be met, but when you trust yourself, and you know that that has to stop that’s what i’ve learned i’m really good at it now.

David Horsager: So let’s So how are you holding a team let’s say and I don’t know where but let’s say a digital marketing team in.

David Horsager: Berlin, how are you hold you’re not going there anymore, how are you gonna How would you hold them accountable and build a team and and and communicate enough, and you know basically build trust and really kind of manage that project or person or.

Alejandro Fenn: So it’s so it’s not complicated we have we use tools like slack I have so many slack teams and we we have Alejandro who’s brilliant at a sauna.

Alejandro Fenn: And a sauna organizes everything and obviously every tech tool that you can imagine, for projects, you know you name it we haven’t.

Alejandro Fenn: And I think that that’s that’s how you hold it together and and slack you can be kind of conversing in real time like we speak to that are.

Alejandro Fenn: Some folks in China and it’s 14 hours you know time difference so seven o’clock our time pm, then you know it works out for them, because it’s morning time for them, the next day.

Alejandro Fenn: I would add to I you know it’s like, especially when you’re creating something new right which is so much harder than kind of us, you know branching off of something existing without that much change it’s like keeping the inertia going.

Alejandro Fenn: You know it’s so easy to like get going on on a on a new product, a new business new venture, and then you know you just kind of like, especially when you’re not together, where you get that human natural human energy of like the actual people.

Alejandro Fenn: To keep making sure to keep the inertia going, and if that means if one person sick like.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, picking up the pieces and pushing it forward then do it because it it’s you know i’ve experienced it we all have where it’s like that inertia dies and and then it kind of fizzles out and you’re just not able to get where you want to go, particularly when we’re all isolated.

David Horsager: One productivity tip one tip of something you do you guys both get so much done and yet you have time for relationships people health all these other things, a productivity tip either.

Alejandro Fenn: I mean mine is related to the health, which is you just put the good things in your body like so that you never have a stomach ache or any problems and you feel good and like obviously the drinking water and.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, doing a you know every every hour when I do too because i’ve got a big monitor like a lot of us, you know you got to look away from your screen for five minutes you got to do some breathing or like do some push ups or.

Alejandro Fenn: do some wall sets I don’t know it doesn’t matter go on your tippy toes try to touch the ceiling whatever works, but like you gotta do something like that and.

Alejandro Fenn: You know, maybe call your grandma and tell her you love her or something like that also helps.

Alejandro Fenn: Perfect for me, I think it’s absolutely going outside I get affected, I have like.

Alejandro Fenn: You know if i’m not in the Center have some kind of light it’s very detrimental, so I just got one of these seasonal affective disorder lamps.

Alejandro Fenn: And I put him in my office, so if there’s a really dark day I can just pretend that I can look at that and and it makes me feel a little bit better and then also for me it’s the I changed to a whole food plant based lifestyle, two years ago and enormous enormous no fog, you know.

David Horsager: Just tell us what that what’s that look like, with a whole whole premise.


Alejandro Fenn: I used to suffer, and you know this because I had it a lot when I initially met you I had a lot of allergies.

Alejandro Fenn: And so I always had allergies and people were suggesting I do this or that.

Alejandro Fenn: And then I had like stomach pains and the doctors were telling me, it was because I traveled to developing countries, well.

Alejandro Fenn: When I switched to a whole food plant based lifestyle I don’t have much of any of that, and so what that means is that I eat whole foods lagoons grains rice tons of vegetables, fruit everything I just don’t eat any animal products.

Alejandro Fenn: Meaning I don’t drink things from your parents farm.

Alejandro Fenn: I don’t.

David Horsager: Remember, where a crop firm.

David Horsager: Plant based.

Alejandro Fenn: Well that’s good.

David Horsager: We didn’t have I did have to I had some lamb some cheap growing up for for four H to learn responsibility but.

David Horsager: farm and, by the way, 91 years old mom and dad still run it, but that 12 1500 acre farm almost all what you just said, like it was.

David Horsager: What we’re most known for when I was growing up was dark red kidney beans that’s great you talk about a bowl of chili or whatever, will take the meat out for you and you can have a nice red gained kidney beans navy beans.

David Horsager: yeah.

David Horsager: That we had we had semi loads.

David Horsager: semi loads of beans.

David Horsager: yeah and we had other things too, but those were the dry edibles yeah.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah so it’s it’s about it’s about so it’s like people say, well, how do you do that don’t you feel like bad or do you miss something no I miss nothing because I feel fantastic.

David Horsager: upgrade is that an alley hundred have you did you do that, to do you feel full without the protein and eggs and bacon in the morning, I mean what do you, what do you think.

Alejandro Fenn: yeah I was the one that got her to do it because I was like hey like you know i’ve I like reading books and stuff like that of all the science, so I.

Alejandro Fenn: suggested to her that hey i’m I just started like eating this way like three months ago, you should try it might help you with xyz and it’s funny now looking back at pictures of both of us from like five years ago we just gotta laugh yeah.

David Horsager: Well, if you can’t if you’re listening to the podcast instead of looking you’ll see some lean mean leaders in front of us.

David Horsager: And, but you know what else just shining glowing smiles.

David Horsager: And you can just tell health right, so I do have a challenge with putting a stake away once in a while, but.

David Horsager: I definitely you know that change me, making sure I get five Green vegetables, a day make sure I mean i’ve got almonds and fruit and it’s just it’s.

David Horsager: In this culture of come on over for cake and ice cream or come over for whatever it’s not always easy, but and everybody knows, I still like ice cream but.

David Horsager: Getting rid of most of certain things even, as you know, this is, this is the start so love it all right here we go Stanford lightning round we’re going to give you each a chance, but it’s going to be quick quick quick.

David Horsager: quick.

David Horsager: All right, we could we could be on all day it’s been amazing already we go back we’ve learned and thought about starting with gratitude.

David Horsager: And every night, maybe playing a fun video game and putting do not disturb on the phone thinking about an orang and having a.

David Horsager: Big of a bottle of water that you’re gonna wants to Funk functional strength.

David Horsager: it’s important to know how to make meals and 15 minutes healthy ones, but that blender sure saves time and is one idea that people could.

David Horsager: Think about divide your work if you’re going to be co leaders divided absolutely clearly.

David Horsager: ask for help with gratitude, we started their treasure your friends and family if I was going to say something about these guys, it is find a way find a way to get it done find a way.

David Horsager: To keep the commitment you got to show up as a leader take time for your people have faith get outside number one productivity tip from this team focused on your health but let’s go to the lightning round it’s time favorite book or resource right now.

Alejandro Fenn: skin in the game.

David Horsager: skin in the game, give us a give us a 32nd snapshot.

Alejandro Fenn: same authors, the black swan.

Alejandro Fenn: amazing amazing analysis of how the economies in in the global economies are affected by.

Alejandro Fenn: The lack of skin in the game.

David Horsager: perfect.

Alejandro Fenn: And when they aren’t okay good.

David Horsager: No we’ll get it and we got it in the show notes you just look look for the show notes you’ll find everything about the global.

David Horsager: gaming initiative you’ll find everything about their other company that can help you if you’re a startup.

David Horsager: get started and get going faster they’ve got the team to help you with everything from building a website to digital marketing to launching and so is that still called zuko are you changing the name.

Alejandro Fenn: Okay zuko zuko is a Community yep.

David Horsager: Do the Google Community that’s an amazing resource that’ll be in the show notes at trusted leader show.com we’ll also put some of these other ideas like skin in the game all right here we go Alejandro what Alejandro what say you favorite book or resource right now.

Alejandro Fenn: or agreements book by don Miguel Ruiz came out about 23 years ago, or so.

Alejandro Fenn: there’s four agreements in life, and this helped me a lot actually this summer, when you know some things were challenging but business life and the like.

Alejandro Fenn: there’s four agreements that I even have a mess posted right next to my bed.

Alejandro Fenn: First agreement is being impeccable with your word, something you talked a lot about David the second one is not taking anything personally.

Alejandro Fenn: Because, at the end of the day, you know all of us are individuals that live life through our own narrow perspective lens and that’s just what it is it’s not our fault that’s just how the brain operates, the third one very crucial, not making assumptions.

Alejandro Fenn: coming in and including not making assumptions about yourself, the most important one and forth always trying your best always trying your best but not over trying, because if you over try it’s just.

Alejandro Fenn: Negative marginal effect and so trying your best, but you know you can’t go overboard it doesn’t do any good.

David Horsager: very, very, very powerful I read about I would say, a decade ago, but I think this reminds me and think Oh, all these things you want to read again right and just be reminded of perfect hey something either of you can’t live without.

Alejandro Fenn: What can you live without honor.

Alejandro Fenn: For me it’s definitely nature going to nature i’m in figuring out, I mean if you live in a city.

Alejandro Fenn: figure out the park, you know I lived in New York for three years going to the little park nearby just being around trees and or whatever you got is a big one, and definitely can’t live without it, I can’t live without music.

Alejandro Fenn: I need music and when my music doesn’t work i’m really upset.

David Horsager: what’s your favorite right now.

Alejandro Fenn: My favorite music yeah as easy Colombian music I like quietness all all the Latin Americans.

David Horsager: love it best advice or favorite quote in one line.

Alejandro Fenn: don’t let anyone take away your joy.

Alejandro Fenn: The best leaders work.

Alejandro Fenn: it’s from Laos it’s I think it goes along the lines of when the best leaders work is done, they will say we did it ourselves i’m.

David Horsager: right that there we go say that one again alejandra.

Alejandro Fenn: When the best leaders work is done, they will say we did it ourselves, yes.

David Horsager: They others will say.

David Horsager: Yes, that clear so everybody understand it’s not that they’ll say about themselves, they did themselves when the best leader, does it, the others will say hey we did this right.

Alejandro Fenn: yep.

David Horsager: love it okay one thing left on your bucket list Elizabeth your bucket list you’ve done so many things already but but quickly one thing left on the bucket list of Elizabeth and then Alejandro.

Alejandro Fenn: Sorry Dave I can’t think of anything other than I mean I can’t think of anything left on my bucket list, I mean then.

Alejandro Fenn: I guess, for me, it will be to become a grandmother.

David Horsager: There you go all right.

Alejandro Fenn: I want to be a grandma.

David Horsager: I was just talking to a leader, I respect so much he’s incredibly successful guy and he you know he’s talking about my teenagers and some of the challenges i’m like.

David Horsager: I talked about trust and i’m still like I gotta do this thing he said don’t worry, you know what grandkids are just so much more fun.

Alejandro Fenn: And they’re coming.

David Horsager: just talking to him yesterday.

David Horsager: But I love my kids everybody knows that and they’re amazing, but I do look forward to the less responsibility, you know that might bring in the enjoyment of what I hear grandkids are about Alejandro Alejandro what say you.

Alejandro Fenn: A big one for me, is doing a really intense like tracking expedition you know it could be through Chile Bolivia all that area, the mountains of the Andes like I want to go to Antarctica at some point, go to the Amazon rainforest.

Alejandro Fenn: Those kinds of things.

David Horsager: you’ve got time and I will not doubt that you’ll do all three and more so well, this has been a great episode and what a treat to talk to my friends Elizabeth and Alejandro and where can we find out more where’s the best place to find out more about you.

Alejandro Fenn: You could just go to Elizabeth starkey’s.

Alejandro Fenn: dot com and schedule a call with me, whatever you need i’m so happy to help you and you know you can go to any of our business sites as well, global gaming initiative or zuko.

David Horsager: And we’ll put them all in the show notes Kent will take care of that if he hasn’t already but that’ll be fun anywhere else Alejandro.

Alejandro Fenn: You know i’m young, so you can always instagram DM me, my name is exactly my first and last name so.

Alejandro Fenn: Always acceptable.

Alejandro Fenn: I won’t respond.

David Horsager: Exactly me either Alejandro fan SP and and wonderful well we’ve got a whole lot of take aways we talk about them, we got some new ones here don’t let anyone take away your joy.

David Horsager: Maybe read skin in the game or four agreements, but what an inspiring duo, I think, mostly because they’re passionate about changing the world for good and.

David Horsager: I we talked about in our work, a lot because i’m on stage 100 times a year, maybe being the same onstage and offstage.

David Horsager: And I know you and you live it out with family and with friends and i’m grateful to call you a friend so and friends grateful to call your friends and so so so so grateful.

David Horsager: This has been the trusted leader show it has been a treat Thank you Elizabeth Thank you Alejandro until next time stay trusted.

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